Guinea secured a place in the semi-finals of the CAF U-23 Africa Cup of Nations, Morocco 2023 on Friday evening after coming back from a goal down to draw 1-1 against Ghana, who crashed out of the competition.
The Guineans finished behind tournament hosts Morocco, who topped Group A after edging Congo 1-0 in a simultaneous match.
The highly entertaining clash, played at the Ibn-Batouta Stadium in Tangier, saw the Young Syli National advance thanks to Ibrahima Fofana’s fierce strike. His goal canceled out Emmanuel Yeboah’s lead and caused an upset for Guinea.
Ghana entered the match desperate to redeem themselves following their 5-1 loss to the tournament hosts, Morocco, on Tuesday. It came as no surprise, therefore, that they came out firing from the onset in search of an early lead to unsettle their opponents, who only needed a draw to advance.
However, it was Guinea who had the better chances when breaking at speed. Ousmane Camara, a livewire upfront, did well to unlock the defense and deliver a well-taken cross. The cross found an unmarked Fofana, who fired straight into his teammate Aguibou Camara with an empty goal at his mercy in the opening minutes.
Guinea’s failure to punish their opponents came at a price in the 34th minute when Emmanuel Yeboah’s quick interchange of passes with Abdul Issahaku concluded with Yeboah finding the back of the net to give Ghana the lead.
The goal somehow awakened Guinea as they started dominating possession and pushing their opponents back into their own half. Seydouba Cisse could have leveled matters in the 40th minute after leaping above his markers to connect with Camara’s cross. However, he headed his effort inches wide of the target, much to the relief of the Ghanaians.
Coming back from the break, Guinea continued where they left off as they rallied forward in search of the equalizer. With momentum on their side, they were eventually rewarded in the 60th minute. Mouhamed Soumah’s attempted header landed in the path of the onrushing Fofana, who brilliantly volleyed the ball home from the edge of the box to level the score.
The Guineans could have taken the lead minutes later after the troublesome Camara almost finished off a great move from Naby Oulare. Oulare did well to beat his marker and lay it off for Camara, whose shot was deflected for a corner.
With time ticking away, substitute Ernest Appiah should have regained the lead in the 78th minute. He did well to fend off his marker and connect with a loose ball, attempting a curler that was parried to safety by Danlad Ibrahim.
With a historic berth in the semi-finals on the horizon, Guinea put men behind the ball and frustrated the Ghanaians until the final whistle, securing their advancement to the next stage of the competition.